Archives for category: silence

The One Page Poetry Circle met on April 18 to discuss Poetry and Silence. We loved the poems everyone brought and the happy noise made over poetry!

Abigail began by reading Maria Jane Jewsbury’s “A Farewell to the Muse” which involves self-imposed renunciation and silence, “Farewell Song! —thy last notes quiver, —/Muse,—Lute, —Music, —farewell now!”

Roger read “Silence” by Edgar Lee Masters about the great difficulty of communication, “Of what use is language?/A beast of the field moans a few times/When death takes its young./And we are voiceless in the presence of realities.”

It was a relief when Phil read Carl Sandburg’s humorous “Aprons of Silence”: So many times I was asked/To come and say the same things/Everybody was saying, no end/To the yes-yes, yes-yes,/me-too, me-too.”

Hazel read “Ode on a Grecian Urn” a celebration of unheard melodies by John Keats and remarked that T. S. Eliot thought the famous last two lines spoil a good poem, “‘Beauty is truth, truth beauty,’ —that is all/Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.”

Gail read from Adrienne Rich’s “Cartographies of Silence,” a work Gail first read as a meditation in a prayer book, “Silence can be a plan/rigorously executed/the blueprint to a life.”

Linda read Michael Shepherd’s “! The Sound of Silence” which celebrates the life in everything: “And I hear in the sound of the chisel on the stone,/as sure as I know my own name,/that the sculptor is listening to all this too.” Note the strange use of punctuation in the title.

Eileen remembered a poem she had read “maybe 50 years ago” and brought Muriel Rukeyser’s “Effort at Speech Between Two People” to share with us: “: Speak to me. Take my hand. What are you now?/I will tell you all. I will conceal nothing.” Here the poet’s creative use of punctuation starts each segment and follows throughout.

Karen read “Patch of Light in Deep Woods” by Maurice Manning describing a magical moment, “I listen silently to the silence,/and then six or seven, a spiral stream of hummingbirds pours through the hole/as silver-green swirled down a funnel.” We couldn’t find this online, but did fine Manning’s “Provincial Thought”: “it struck me as a symbol inside/another symbol, a silence inside/a silence, and another silence fell on me.”

Carol read “The Sound of Silence” by Simon and Garfunkel, a song that resonates in many of our minds when we think of silence, “And the vision that was planted in my brain/Still remains/Within the sound of silence.”

Jaye read “To Those Who Are Alone” by Deafening Silence, “To those who are alone/and live their lives just drifting by,” to which Jaye added… “at my dinner party!” which she plans to have for vulnerable people.

AnnaLee closed the circle with Timothy Yu’s “Chinese Silence No. 22” which uses a series of stereotypes to eventually bring out individuality, “The Italians are making their pasta,/the French are making things French,/and the Chinese cultivate their silence.”

She also pointed out how the great Leonard Cohen’s two beats of silence towards the end of “Hallelujah” are as important as sound.

We look forward to seeing the works you select for Poetry and Theft and to discussing them with you at our next meeting on May 9 at the St. Agnes Branch Library, 444 Amsterdam Avenue in Manhattan. . Bring a poem of a known poet. Bring a friend. Show up! And widen the circle! Without your support the library may find other uses for the spacious room they’ve given us.

Abigail Burnham Bloom and AnnaLee Wilson

The One Page Poetry Circle is sponsored by the New York Public Library and is open to all. St. Agnes Branch Library is handicap accessible.

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Welcome to the One Page Poetry Circle at St. Agnes Branch Library!

Date: Tuesday, April 18
Time: 5:30 – 6:30 pm
Place: St. Agnes Branch Library, 444 Amsterdam Ave.
3rd Fl.
Theme:
Poetry and Silence

Find a poem! Show up! Read a poem! Discuss a poem!

April’s theme is Poetry and Silence. Feel free to interpret the theme in a way that has meaning for you. We hope you will find a poem you haven’t read before or see an old friend in a new light. Can’t locate a poem you like? Look through a poetry book at the library or check out Poetry Foundation or poets.org.

Silence would seem inimical to poetry, but it is as important as words. Poems use silence, the cessation of words, to create meaning. “Silence” is the last word that Hamlet speaks (Shakespeare’s Hamlet 5.2). The moment contains irony in that the last thing Hamlet says means “nothing” but follows much mental and physical turmoil. Sadly, his voice will be silenced forever—or at least until we read the play again.

The potent poison quite o’ercrows my spirit.
I cannot live to hear the news from England.
But I do prophesy the election lights
On Fortinbras. He has my dying voice.
So tell him, with th’ occurrents, more and less,
Which have solicited. The rest is silence.

In Yvor Winters’ “Before Disaster,” the rhyming couplets tick-tock, lull, increase speed, and then halt, creating a silence where readers can reflect before moving on.

Evening traffic homeward burns,
Swift and even on the turns,
Drifting weight in triple rows,
Fixed relation and repose.
This one edges out and by,
Inch by inch with steady eye.
But should error be increased,
Mass and moment are released;
Matter loosens, flooding blind,
Levels driver to its kind….
Ranks of nations thus descend,
Watchful to a story end.
By a moment’s calm beguiled,
I have got a wife and child.

Simon and Garfunkel’s song, “The Sound of Silence” begins by evoking a mood:

Hello darkness, my old friend
I’ve come to talk with you again
Because a vision softly creeping
Left its seeds while I was sleeping
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Still remains
Within the sound of silence

What other forms of silence have you found in poetry?

We’d love to blog with you here at onepagepoetrycircle.wordpress.com about Poetry and Silence or any other subject that pertains to poetry.

~Abigail Burnham Bloom and AnnaLee Wilson